Cycle Country Accessories Corp. (ATC)
Interview with: Ronald Hickman, President and CEO
Business News, Financial News, Stocks, Money & Investment Ideas, CEO Interview
and Information on their
custom-fitting accessories for the utility all-terrain vehicle (ATV).

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Cycle Country Accessories Corp. – continuing to develop new products and grow as the ATV industry grows

Capital Goods
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Cycle Country Accessories Corp.

2188 Highway 86

PO Box 239
Milford, IA 51351
Phone: 712 338 2701

Ronald Hickman
President and
Chief Executive Officer

Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse
Senior Editor
September 2003

Ron Hickman
President and CEO

            Ron’s areas of Expertise include:  Accounting, Management, and Education.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Accounting from St. Cloud State University and a College Teaching Certificate from the State of Iowa.  He has been a Certified Public Accountant for the past 27 years.

            Perhaps Ron’s greatest strength is his ability to lead.  He is a trained leader and a people person.  He is also a visionary which people around him quickly recognize.

            Ron was the General Manager and Vice President of Cycle Country for 6 years before becoming its President and CEO in 2001.  He was also a college instructor at Iowa Lakes Community College for 5 years and owned his own CPA Firm for 15 years.  At Cycle Country Ron supervises all areas of the business.  These areas included:  sales and marketing, manufacturing, engineering, accounting and finance, purchasing, quality control, shipping, research and development, and plant operations.

Company Profile:
Cycle Country Accessories Corp., (AMEX: ATC) with over 50% of the worldwide market in several product categories, is the industry leader in the design, engineering and manufacturing of custom-fitting accessories for the utility all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Since 1981, Cycle Country has developed an extensive line of branded products of snowplows, lawnmowers, spreaders, sprayers, hitches and many other utility equipment items along with recreational accessories. The Company's products custom fit virtually every brand of ATV on the market, which are distributed to essentially all ATV and motorcycle dealers in North America.

The Company has 19 international distributors that sell Cycle Country products in 35 countries throughout Asia, Europe, Central and South America. Additionally, Cycle Country dominates the golf car wheel cover market by manufacturing approximately 90% of all wheel covers sold to original equipment manufacturers worldwide. The Company sells high-performance premium oil filters for motorcycles and ATVs throughout the U.S. under the brand name Perf-form Products. They also manufacture heavy-duty garden equipment attachments for garden tractors, ATVs and other utility vehicles within the Lawn & Garden industry under their brand name Weekend Warrior. Cycle Country has "Preferred Manufacturing Vendor" status with John Deere and currently manufactures many equipment products for their utility vehicles.

CEOCFOinterviews: Mr. Hickman, please give us a brief history of Cycle Country Accessories.

Mr. Hickman: “Cycle Country was founded in 1981 and it was started when Jim Danbom, the founder of our company, developed a front blade for the Suzuki 125 ATV. Suzuki was the first ATV to come out with reverse. Jim looked at that machine and thought that it would be capable of operating with a blade on the front  of it. He designed a front blade, which made the Suzuki 125 capable of plowing snow and pushing dirt and sand. That was our first product and our company has grown ever since. Blades are still our largest selling product and we make blades for all makes and models of utility type ATVs. We have designed all sorts of accessories over the years as well, such as mowers, spreaders, sprayers, winch kits, and winches and baskets; all sorts of things to allow a person to use his or her ATV as a practical tool to take care of the lawn, garden, driveway or whatever it is that needs to be done.” 

CEOCFOinterviews: Please explain who your customers are.

Mr. Hickman: “We sell our products primarily through aftermarket ATV distributors.  These distributors then sell our products to ATV dealers.  The dealers sell our products to ATV owners.  So, our customer can be the distributor, the ATV dealer, or the final consumer.  ATV’s can be used for a wide variety of purposes.  Our accessories enable the ATV to be used for plowing snow, pushing dirt or sand, spreading seed or fertilizer, mowing grass, plus many other uses. Our accessories enable the ATV owner to use the ATV for all kinds of practical purposes and still have a machine that can go trail riding on demand.

CEOCFOinterviews: How do you reach your customers?

Mr. Hickman: “We do quite a bit of advertising, much of it aimed at consumers.   An example of our consumer advertising would be - The Outdoor Channel has a show called ATV Television. Many ATV enthusiasts watch these various shows, so we attract consumers that way. We also advertise in some consumer publications such as ATV magazine. This type of advertising drives the consumer into the ATV dealership, looking for our products. 

Our goal is also to reach the distributor and the dealer. We use publications such as ATV Industry magazine, Power Sports Business magazine and Dealer News magazine to reach those dealers and distributors.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Does your brand name make a difference to the consumer?

Mr. Hickman: “ Absolutely!  Cycle Country is known extremely well by ATV dealers all over the country and they know that our products are going to fit very well and that is important to us. If you were to buy a new ATV, it is important to us that when you purchase our accessories for that machine,  that they will bolt right onto the machine without welding, drilling or damage to the ATV. Dealers know that our products are made very well and if they ever have any problem with warranty or service or replacement parts, we have people on the phone that take care of those problems instantly. Cycle Country is a well known and respected name in the industry.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Tell us about your R&D efforts, and how you work with dealers.

Mr. Hickman: “We have a very active research and development department. We get every make and model of ATV into our R&D department every year. We work with many of the local dealers in our area, such as Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, etc. They let us know when new models of machines are in.   We bring these machines  into our R&D shop, and fit up our line of accessories to all  these machines every year. Sometimes the machines don’t change from year-to-year and sometimes they do. There are always new models coming out. Last year, we had 83 different models of ATVs pass through our R&D facility here. We have a very active R&D facility that will make sure that our accessories are going to fit right on every machine.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Will you tell us a little about the ATV market in general?

Mr. Hickman: “The ATV market has been growing rapidly throughout the years. Seven or eight years ago, there were two to three hundred thousand ATVs sold in the United States. This last year, the dealer publications have indicated that there were over eight hundred thousand ATVs sold in the United States. The market has been growing at double digit levels over the last many years. The numbers of ATVs that are sold every year are staggering.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Do you also have international business?

Mr. Hickman: “Yes we do. ATVs are sold throughout the world; however the strongest market for ATVs is right here in the U.S. There are many ATVs sold in Canada and throughout Europe.  The Scandinavian countries and the U.K. are especially strong in ATV sales.  We have distribution in 35 countries outside of North America. Our accessories sales are strongest in countries where there are high volumes of ATVs being sold. The biggest areas right now are the areas that are not affected so much by the high value of the U.S currency over the last few years. When our dollar is strong against foreign currency, it makes the ATVs and our accessories very expensive in the countries that have weak currency. Historically the ATV sales have been stronger in countries that have a strong currency.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Will you tell us about the financial condition of the company?

Mr. Hickman: “We have been in business since 1981, and have been profitable every year that we have been in business. We have just now qualified to be listed on the American Stock Exchange. When we became a public company, we were listed on the NASDAQ Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board for the first 20 months or so that we were a public company. June 19th of 2003 was the first day that we traded on the AMEX. We have always made money, and have had steady growth throughout the years. With new accessories, products and acquisitions, we see continues growth well into the future.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Why did you make the decision to go to the AMEX as opposed to the NASD?

Mr. Hickman: One of the reasons we felt that the AMEX fit our company very well is that AMEX has quite a few services available to its members that we felt that we could use and that they could provide for us.  We also knew that the AMEX is one of the most trusted and respected organizations in the free market enterprise system.  It was a very good fit for our company.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What are you looking for in terms of growth and what are you looking for in acquisitions?

Mr. Hickman: “We don’t have a specific company or product targeted for an acquisition. What we would be looking for is a company that would fit well into our product line. When we acquired, Per-Form Products, that fit well because the Per-Form oil filters were sold through many of the same distributors that we already deliver products to  in the ATV market. I t allowed us to expand our product line to those same distributors.   The acquisition of Weekend Warrior allowed us to expand our product line into the lawn and garden industry. 

The nice part about the Per-Form and the Weekend Warrior acquisitions is that they allowed us to fill in the time of the year that has traditionally been a little bit slower for us. Our primary products are blades and blades have a selling season that goes from June through February. March through May have been slower for us, so with the oil filters and the Weekend Warrior products, we have been able to increase our manufacturing during the slow months of the year, and use some of our excess capacity. That has worked out well for us and we would consider that again with any future acquisitions.”

CEOCFOinterviews: How do you as CEO handle rapid growth, and see to it that growth continues?

Mr. Hickman: “The key to success is to surround yourself with good people and listen to them. You can’t be afraid to give up some of the authority and responsibility that you have, if you are confident that whomever you are giving it up to is going to handle it properly. We have a great management team, and they are all willing to take on more responsibility and do more things and they have been good at hiring the people they need to work with them. We have been successful because of the people that we have.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Why should potential investors be interested and what should they know that perhaps they don’t realize when they first look at the company?

Mr. Hickman: “We are in a growing industry, and it has grown through the years when many industries have suffered. If we look at ATV sales, our business has mirrored the number of ATVs that are sold and those sales just keep going up every year. We have been able to continue to develop new products for the ATV industry, and we feel that as these products hit the market, our company will benefit financially. We have been successful at developing some strategic alliances with OEMs in the lawn and garden industry, which is going to allow us to expand beyond our traditional ATV industry. Further, our entrance onto the AMEX, opens our stock to many more brokers and potential investors.  That is going to be a good thing for us, for the value of our stock, and long-term investments in our company.”

CEOCFOinterviews: In closing, please give us a look into the future for Cycle Country.

Mr. Hickman: “I am looking forward to the future of the ATV industry. I believe the industry has the potential to expand in the international market. We have our accessories with proper distribution all over the world, and in some cases, we are waiting for the ATVs to have a more significant influence in certain countries. When the ATVs get to those countries, we will be there. We are already there. As the international ATV market grows, that could be a strong thing for us because we are going to grow right along with that international market.  Cycle Country will continue to develop new accessories, to make ATV’s more useful and we will continue to develop strategic alliances that will help us to expand our company.”

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